Life in the Soil – Free Education Kit

Welcome to the free educational lesson plan. This kit is free to use, and was modeled around next-generation science and common core geography and social studies curriculum, however it is applicable anywhere, and always free to use.

Lesson Introduction: Why Soil?

The large scale, industrial agriculture we use today in developed countries such as the United States and most of Europe, is predicted to lead to worldwide starvation and irreversible ecological disasters that will severely impact the ability of human beings to live on the planet. In response, the UN, along with hosts of scientists, politicians, and farmers are calling for a move away from industrial-scale chemical farming and towards small-scale, regenerative (sustainable) farming as a cornerstone of modern agriculture.

This hands-on lesson plan aims to educate students about the importance of life in the soil, by examining samples of dirt in peer groups and devising their own real world answers and actions to combat contemporary ecological issues.

Specific to this lesson plan is the process by which we till (dig up), and apply chemicals such as pesticide and herbicide to the soil in order to grow food easily, cheaply, and on large scale; and how these practices kill life in the soil, ultimately destroying farmland and the ecosystems connected to it.

Download the Lesson Plan Contents

There are three main components to this lesson plan, two of them can be downloaded here, and one requires an internet connection to stream (via youtube):

About the Production Team

This lesson plan kit was produced in a not-for-profit venture by the Final Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness team in collaboration with City as Nature and Art is Power. It is based on the work of ecological filmmakers Patrick M. Lydon and Suhee Kang, who have spent nearly a decade exploring regenerative farms in Japan, Korea, and the United States, investigating the relationship between farming methods and the ability for the soil to produce food. The experiences of these farmers is reflected in the documentary film Final Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness, and is backed by a growing body of scientific research showing how small-scale, low-input agriculture may be the only option for feeding the earth’s population into the future.


This education kit is a not-for-profit production, made possible through generous donations, and sales of our documentary film. If you enjoyed using it in your classroom, or if you have feedback on how it can be improved or expanded, please don’t hesitate to send us a note.

Keep it Free!

To help us continue developing these kinds of lessons, please consider making a donation through our website.